Free­dom to feel good

This fit­ness buff is set­ting peo­ple free from stress and poor health

Life & Style Weekend - - READ - BY Seanna Cronin

LIBBY Ba­bet ra­di­ates en­ergy. The fit­ness en­tre­pre­neur and for­mer jour­nal­ist isn’t a house­hold name yet, but she will be when The Big­gest Loser: Trans­formed de­buts on our screens.

Ten has given the weight-loss show a to­tal makeover. There will be just two train­ers, Libby and se­ries orig­i­nal Shan­nan Pon­ton, a more mo­bile group of con­tes­tants who are over­weight or obese rather than mor­bidly obese, and a wider fo­cus on men­tal health and nu­tri­tion as well as ex­er­cise.

Some have dubbed Libby the new Michelle Bridges, but I don’t think the com­par­i­son is fair. Her per­son­al­ity and train­ing style are miles away from Bridges and she comes from a very dif­fer­ent back­ground.

Raised on the Sun­shine Coast, Libby started work as a jour­nal­ist at the Sun­shine Coast Daily be­fore mov­ing to Brisbane with The Courier-Mail and even­tu­ally Syd­ney to work in mag­a­zines as a health jour­nal­ist.

She then carved out her own space in the highly com­pet­i­tive fit­ness world by found­ing two busi­nesses. One is Aus­tralia’s first “en­ter­train­ment’’ group the BUF Girls and ath­letic per­for­mance stu­dio AGOGA.

Libby is also the co-founder of Chief Bar, a nat­u­ral whole food pro­tein bar, and has a strong so­cial me­dia pres­ence in­clud­ing more than 16,000 In­sta­gram fol­low­ers.

Tak­ing a break from her busy sched­ule film­ing for The Big­gest Loser: Trans­formed in Syd­ney, Libby shares her new year fit­ness trends with Week­end.

What are you ex­pect­ing to be the big fit­ness trends of 2017?

What I’m re­ally lov­ing about fit­ness at the mo­ment is the swing to­wards work­ing out and eat­ing well not just be­cause you want a bet­ter phys­i­cal body, but as a well­be­ing tool. Ex­er­cise gives you an emo­tional pick-me-up, helps with men­tal sharp­ness and bust­ing stress, gets you out­side con­nect­ing with na­ture and in­creases fun so­cial in­ter­ac­tions, giv­ing you an in­cred­i­ble way to con­nect with fam­ily and friends. Other trends on the cards for 2017 are an in­creased fo­cus on func­tional small group train­ing, as well as a swing back to­wards smart and ef­fec­tive full-body cir­cuits that have your body mov­ing through mul­ti­ple move­ment pat­terns and planes/de­grees of mo­tion, rather than iso­lated body part train­ing. Of course there’s also the big up­swing in su­per smart, wear­able tech which is such a sim­ple way to track your im­prove­ment, set up new habits and make sure you’re mov­ing enough ev­ery day, as well as be­ing a whole lot of fun and giv­ing you that lit­tle hit of in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion when you tick off your move­ment goal for the day. I’ve tried them all and find them so mo­ti­vat­ing. I’m cur­rently ob­sessed with the Ap­ple Watch 2.

What’s the first step for peo­ple who want to start on their fit­ness res­o­lu­tions?

Get a fit­ness tracker or pe­dome­ter and make sure you’re get­ting 10k steps a day. If you find that easy, up it to 12k. When you’re walk­ing enough and eat­ing well, that’s enough to get you in pretty good health. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, have a look for group train­ing fa­cil­i­ties close to your house, whether it’s a boot camp or indoor stu­dio, from cir­cuits to cycling. Trust me, it’s so much eas­ier to just show up, so­cialise and do the work­out the trainer pre­scribes with 20 other peo­ple in the room sweat­ing up a storm than it is walk­ing in to a ran­dom big gym and think­ing, “What the heck should I do to­day?”. If there are no handy group train­ing gyms near you, head on­line and sign up for a fit­ness pro­gram you can do from home, or at your lo­cal big gym. There are so many out there, for all sorts of peo­ple. Girls can train with me at buf­girls.com (try our foun­da­tion pro­gram BUF Body) and for the guys, there’s Ath­leanX or Daily Burn, plus so many oth­ers. All you’ve got to do is jump on to Google and start ex­plor­ing.

How im­por­tant is diet in reach­ing and main­tain­ing fit­ness goals?

Nu­tri­tion is ev­ery­thing. I have a re­ally easy prin­ci­ple for nailing it, too. If you imagine a din­ner plate, for each meal split it into four quar­ters. Fill at least two of those quar­ters with green and colour­ful veg­eta­bles or salad, an­other quar­ter with good qual­ity pro­tein like meat, fish, eggs, or a vege­tar­ian pro­tein source like tem­peh or quinoa, then fill the fi­nal quar­ter with some slow, whole carbs like a piece of sour­dough bread, starchy veg­eta­bles like sweet potato or pump­kin, a lit­tle rice or buck­wheat, what­ever you love. Then as the cherry on top, add a thumb-sized por­tion of healthy fats like but­ter, nuts and seeds, olive oil, tahini, or a quar­ter av­o­cado. Sim­ple. I use this rule for break­fast too, be­cause I’m not a big be­liever in the whole “ce­real and milk’’ thing – un­less it’s ba­sic oats and in-sea­son berries.

What are your tips for not fall­ing off the fit­ness band­wagon?

Keep this thought in mind and you’ll keep get­ting back on that band­wagon: mov­ing your body and eat­ing well are just like show­er­ing or brush­ing your teeth – stop do­ing them for more than a few days and they stop work­ing. Keep your body and mind fresh and in op­ti­mum con­di­tion by fo­cus­ing on do­ing some­thing ac­tive and fill­ing up on nu­tri­ents ev­ery sin­gle day. You don’t have to be ob­ses­sive, you just have to be con­sis­tent.

What’s the one thing you would rec­om­mend to ev­ery­one when it comes to healthy liv­ing?

Have a healthy at­ti­tude to­wards healthy liv­ing. Make it a pri­or­ity so you feel great and are the best ver­sion of you pos­si­ble, but don’t ob­sess about eat­ing “per­fectly’’ or ex­er­cis­ing like a de­mon. Let food be your medicine and fit­ness be your fun time. Oh and if you’re feel­ing un­mo­ti­vated? Down­load a new playlist to fuel your ses­sion – works ev­ery time.

Big­gest Loser: Trans­formed is com­ing soon to Ten.

Don’t ob­sess about eat­ing ‘per­fectly’ or ex­er­cis­ing like a de­mon. Let food be your medicine and fit­ness be your fun time.

PHOTO: CHAN­NEL 10

Libby Ba­bet will ap­pear as a per­sonal trainer on the up­com­ing new se­ries The Big­gest Loser: Trans­formed.

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